Air Traffic Controllers keep skies safe for aircraft

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Air Force air traffic controllers have the critical mission of managing and controlling all aircraft operations while maintaining the highest level of safety possible and securing the appropriate separation prescribed by regulations implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Because of this mission, ATC is a cornerstone of air travel in both the United States and abroad.

Staff Sgt. Anthony Carmignani, 375th Operational Support Squadron air traffic controller journeyman, said, “The ATC at Scott AFB constantly strives to provide the best possible service to all participants of the National Airspace System, both military and civilian alike.”

Recently, Scott AFB has seen an increase in air operations tempo for a couple reasons: The 375th OSS building Scott AFB’s first-ever drop zone area to attract more customers to the ramp and the recent airshow.

“Much like flying an airplane, controlling aircraft is a critical skillset that must be exercised routinely in order to remain sharp,” said Lt. Col. Maureen Trujillo-Andree, 375th OSS commander. “We have seen a direct link between the number of aircraft transiting the Scott AFB/Mid-America traffic pattern and the readiness of our controllers. As aircraft operations increase, the better prepared our controllers will be when called upon to deploy to high-tempo airfields downrange and when they PCS.

“Initiatives such as developing new approach procedures, establishing hot-pit refueling, and creating a drop zone are just a few of the steps taken to increase the readiness not only of Scott AFB personnel, but also our aviation mission partners around the Midwest.”

Senior Airman Jesus Castro, 375th OSS air traffic controller, said he appreciates the chance to work in the ATC Tower.

“This is a great career and I’m glad I have the opportunity to work in the tower here at Scott AFB,” said Castro. “Controlling the aircraft in pattern alone and having either a perfect or near perfect sequence/command over the airspace gives me a sense of satisfaction.”

Cargmignani also shared the sentiment about the increase in operations.

“The increase in operations at Scott has improved the effectiveness and readiness of the ATC by increasing the amount of trainable real-world scenarios available and allowing a larger variety of aircraft sizes and types to control,” said Cargmignani. “With this increase also comes a larger variety of aircraft approach types and procedures requiring the air traffic controllers to learn new strategies and rule sets for things like tactical approaches and drop zone operations.”